PhD Studentships

CEH works in collaboration with Universities across the UK and internationally to input scientific and supervisory expertise into PhD projects. Currently there are approximately 180 PhD students studying with CEH. Of these, a third are based at CEH and are either competitively-funded through 12 NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and 4 NERC Centres for Doctoral Training or directly funded through a variety of other sources.

Directly-funded PhD Opportunities

PhD studentships where funding for the project is secured will be advertised here when available.

Details of NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) with CEH vacancies:

PhD studentships are available through NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) whereby CEH hosts the studentship (ie the student is based at a CEH site) and where projects within each DTP/CDT compete with each other for funding. Eligibility: NERC studentships are bound by NERC's terms and conditions including residency and minimum qualifications (see individual project details).  


Further information and Studentship opportunities


Partnership between the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool and York and CEH. See details of the projects here.

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.

Central England NERC Training Alliance is a consortium of Universities (Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Warwick and The Open University) and research institutes (CEH and the British Geological Survey, BGS). See details of the projects here

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.

Edinburgh Earth and Environment DTP  brings together 28 partners from research, education, policy and industry sectors. See details here.

  • 2020 applications open - closing date 9 Jan 2020

Unexpected carbon consequences of forests: effects on aquatic carbon fluxes and composition Supervisory team: Dr Amy Pickard (CEH Edinburgh), Prof Kate Heal (University of Edinburgh), Don Monteith (CEH Lancaster) & Dr Peter Gilbert (Environmental Research Institute).

Measurements of real world pollutant emissions from London’s BT Tower Supervisory team: Dr Eiko Nemitz (CEH Edinburgh), Prof Mathew Heal (University of Edinburgh), Dr Ben Langford (CEH Edinburgh). 

Dung beetles: alleviators or accelerators of climate change? The role of dung beetles in Nitrogen cycling and greenhouse gas emissions in tropical oil palm plantations with cattle grazing. Supervisory team: Dr Julia Drewer (CEH Edinburgh), Prof Liz Baggs (University of Edinburgh) & Asst Prof Eleanor Slade (Nanyang Techonoligcal University, Singapore).

Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Vertical Farming Supervisory team: Dr Nicholas Cowan (CEH Edinburgh) & Prof David Reay (University of Edinburgh).

Assessing the environmental and economic costs and benefits of farmyard manure fertilisers treated via plasma reactor N2 fixation Supervisory team: Dr Ute Skiba (CEH Edinburgh), Prof David Reay (University of Edinburgh) & Dr Nicholas Cowan (CEH Edinburgh).

Valuing Ecosystem Services produced by the Colombian Páramos Supervisory team: Prof Dominic Moran (University of Edinburgh) & Dr France Gerard (CEH Wallingford).

Thermal sensitivity of UK butterflies in space versus time Supervisory team: Dr Ally Phillimore (University of Edinburgh), Dr Nick Isaac (CEH Wallingford) & Dr Sinead Collins (University of Edinburgh).

Assessing the impact of environmental change on host responses to infection and disease Supervisory team: Dr Emma Cunningham (University of Edinburgh) & Dr Sarah Burthe (CEH Wallingford). 


Expertise from three universities (East Anglia, Essex and Kent) and ten research centres, including CEH, led by the University of East Anglia. See details of the projects here.

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.

A consortium of 44 industry and NGO partners, led by Lancaster University and including the Universities of Nottingham and Bangor and CEH. The initiative also involves large multinationals, a large number of SMEs and international research centres. See details here.

  • 2020 applications open - closing date 17 Jan 2020

​​Floral Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) signalling in response to air pollution and climate change Supervisory team: Dr Felicity Hayes (CEH Bangor) & Dr Kirsti Ashworth (Lancaster University).

Urban nature-based solutions, are there scale-dependent thresholds?  Supervisory team: Prof Laurence Jones (CEH Bangor) & Dr Alison Cameron (Bangor University).

Persistent organic pollutant futures: making 21st century projections of POPs concentrations and risks in British soils Supervisory team: Dr Stephen Lofts (CEH Lancaster) & Prof Kevin Jones (Lancaster University).

Soil microbes to mitigate climate change  Supervisory team: Dr Jeanette Whitaker (CEH Lancaster) & Prof Nick Ostle (Lancaster University).


NERC Great Western Four+ DTP is a formal alliance of research-intensive universities across the South West - Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.

  • 2020 applications open - closing date 06 Jan 2020

Near Real-Time Multiscale Hybrid Surface Water Flooding Risk Forecasting  Supervisory team: Dr Albert Chen (Department of Engineering, University of Exeter), Dr Steven Cole (CEH Wallingford), Prof Slobodan Djordjevic (Department of Engineering, University of Exeter) and Mr Robert Moore (CEH Wallingford).


North East of England’s and Scotland’s multidisciplinary DTP, which joins the leading research universities of Durham, Glasgow, Newcastle, St Andrews and Stirling, together with CEH and BGS. See details of the projects here

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.
Oxford DTP in Environmental Research

The University of Oxford's DTP in Environmental Research recruits research students through three Research Streams: Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Processes, The Dynamic Earth Surface Processes and Natural Hazards, and The Physical Climate System. See details of the projects here

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.

SCENARIO is led by the University of Reading, with three further Host Partners (the University of Surrey, CEH and BGS) in collaboration with a wide range of industry and public sector partners. See details of the projects here.

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.
Science and Solutions (SSCP)

The SSCP DTP brings together Imperial College London’s world leading expertise with that of its partners to offer a unique world-class multidisciplinary PhD training programme. See details of the projects here

  • 2020 applications open, closing date 06 Jan 2020

Understanding the role of phytochelatins in detoxifying toxic metal pollutants in invertebrate species Supervisory team: Dr Dave Spurgeon (CEH Wallingford) & Dr Jacob Bundy (Imperial College London).

Developing new UAV-based survey approaches for monitoring tree and soil health indices in SE Asian oil palm plantations Supervisory team: Dr Paul Scholefield (CEH Lancaster), Dr Robert Ewers (Imperial College London), Mr Justin Moat (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), Prof Niall McNamara (CEH Lancaster) & Prof Alan Blackburn (Lancaster University).


Hosted by five academic departments at the University of Leeds and one at the University of York, building on a history of bi-lateral and multi-lateral research collaboration. See details of the projects here.

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.

The Southampton Partnership for Innovative Training of Future Investigators Researching the Environment collaborating with CEH and other organisations.

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.


Partnership between the University of Aberdeen and Queens University Belfast. See more details.

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.

Partnership between University of Aberdeen, Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University, University of the Highlands & Islands, Stirling University, Strathclyde University, University of the West of Scotland. More details soon.

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.



Water Security Alliance

The GW4 FRESH CDT draws on a critical mass of internationally recognised scientists, including empiricists, experimentalists, modellers, and theoreticians in the field of freshwater bioscience and sustainability. Partnership between Cardiff, Bath, Bristol and Exeter universities, alongside CEH and BGS.

  • 2020 applications open - closing date 16 Dec 2019 (9am)

Understanding the ecological role of organic matter (OM) in urban freshwaters Supervisory team: Dr Daniel Read (CEH Wallingford), Prof Richard Evershed (University of Bristol), Prof Penny Johnes (University of Bristol), John Bryden (Thames 21) & Dr Nathalie Gilbert (Thames 21).

Soils Training and Research Studentships

Partnership between Lancaster, Bangor, Cranfield and Nottingham universities, alongside CEH, British Geological Survey, Rothamsted Research and James Hutton Institute. Please see details here

  • Last cohort 2017.
Quantitative and Modelling Skills in Ecology and Evolution

Partnership between Imperial College London, University of Reading, CEH, Cefas and ZSL. See details here.

  • 2020 applications opening shortly.

Masters projects or ad hoc research placements 

If you are interested in ideas and supervision for a Masters Projects or summer work experience during your degree, please browse the six Science Areas for details of CEH research interests. Once you have found a group you are interested in joining, please contact the Science Group Leader (listed under each Science Area). 

Graduate School for the Environment

CEH is one of the partner organisations (along with Lancaster Environment Centre and Rothamsted Research) behind the Lancaster Graduate School for the Environment, a world-leading academic centre created in 2016.